Not to be outdone, those trendy french aristocratic males began adding heels to their shoes in 1580. This trend quickly spread as merchants and mariners introduced the style to the rest of France, Italy, Spain and England. In 1710, Louis XIV, "the grand dandy" of them all, decreed that red heels may be worn only by the highest ranks of nobility and no heels were allowed to be higher than his. In 1791, high heels disappeared with the French revolution as Napoleanic code declared everyone, as long as you were a white male, an equal.  I wonder if the little man might have more self-serving reasons for banishing them. Nonetheless, the world did not see them again for seventy years. 

The next time around, they appeared solely on women's' shoes and were first unveiled at the Great Exhibition in London of 1851, the first world's fair, which attracted more than 6 million attendees. In 1885, Parisian boot maker Francois Pinet introduced his signature hourglass heel which remained the standard well into the roaring twenties when hemlines shrank and the foot becomes more visible.  No self-respecting flapper would dare Charleston the night away unless her heels towered as high as the Chrysler building. The pointy heel was replaced by the wedge, invented by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1936, but went into in hiding through most of the war years when both supply shortages and women working in wartime factories made practicality synonymous with patriotism. Charles Jourdan changed all that in 1951 when he introduced the world to the highest and thinnest heel ever - the stiletto.

For the past few seasons, women have complained of the dearth of sexy shoes in a marketplace dominated by big, square toes and clunky heels. I can promise that while far less vocal, we men were not any happier about it either.  Though we may lack the ability to express with any finesse what our better halves were feeling, both genders were pondering the same question: where were the delicate sandals to show off slender ankles or the pumps to exaggerate the curves of well-turned calves? Apparently, Gucci's Tom Ford heard our cries, ushering back 4 and five inches of skinny heel back into the spotlight.  Stores from Saks Fifth Avenue to Pay-Less Shoes report that the models with the highest heels are selling out.  Thanks Tom, we owe ya one!

The female baboon, when aroused, walks on her toes, thereby signaling the male that she is ready to mate. Therefore, is it any wonder human males consider high heels sexy since many of us are after all, little more than slightly evolved apes in neckties? Does the woman in skyscraper heels command more of our attention because she is suddenly a towering statuesque vision?  Or is it because she feels instantly empowered and beguiling like a sultry Lauren Bacall-esque femme fatale bold enough to not only ask Bogie if he knew how to whistle, but tell him how to do it anyway?  Is all this worth the price of misshapen feet and a forced Geisha Girl like hobble? We can not say for sure, but then again, Nancy Sinatra only said "boots were made for walking," the part about high heels…well, we made that up ourselves.

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